April 30, 1990 12:00 PM

PBS (Fri., April 27, 9 P.M. ET)


Noted MTV maven Zbig Rybczynski turns his high-tech video technique on classical music for Great Performances.

Elderly couples in somewhat formal dress engage in odd, ritualized behavior within the hedged confines of a formal garden as Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 21 plays. A man and a woman in their underwear pinwheel through the cavernous space inside Chartres cathedral as Schubert’s “Ave Maria” wafts through. Soldiers in full ornamental uniform march about in the Louvre while a man is shaved and dressed by a valet in time to Rossini’s “The Thieving Magpie” overture. In three other pieces giant snakes drift in the air, dachshunds gaze balefully at the camera and a fetish involving loaves of bread is carried on.

This is a promising concept, but Zbig’s visions are too dourly mystical, in an Ingmar Bergman kind of way, to hold one’s interest.

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